Chrome Sparks | Be On Fire
Counter Records (DL/Stream)
The new EP from Brooklyn’s Chrome Sparks (Jeremy Malvin) nicely crosses genres with ease, there are hints of abstraction, awkward beats, minimal techno, hip-hop with samples and effects galore. It’s a true pastiche of style that has ‘essence eau hipster’ written all over it – saturated in this rainbow blend of throwback soundtrack themes, fuzzy funk and slunken beats. In fact the mistaken identity of genre occurs near the start on In2 Your Love where a restrained pop soul vocal is muted over a trippy synth and fuzzbox, but at just two minutes it’s really a quirky intro. This flyaway approach is further harnessed on Juno Lion, that sounds as if it could have been recorded in the echoes of any empty VFW hall. Malvin offers a controlled carelessness here, one that fuses glistening gem-like tones, gassy old skool synths and pregnant pauses that will be further accentuated later – ending with a drawn and quartered vocal effect.
Suddenly along comes the happy-go-lucky vibes of the jazzy title track. For some odd reason this makes me feel like I’m between the world of the shopping mall and hotel lobby – as if you are passing through, walking past places and just catching random glimpses of this background music couched in soothing, slightly funky surroundings. It’s a unique track that plays on the bald faced side of pop.
If you loved Air or Lemon Jelly way back when, Chrome Sparks is a darling second cousin who seems to have evolved his signature style from earlier efforts like his Goddess EP (2014) – though his style has seemingly gotten looser and malleable. Ultraviolet Rainbow then takes us to a spacey and laidback groove. There’s something of a cheshire triteness that weirdly makes this irresistible, especially when it slows and re-unwinds. All of these tracks are quite short, so the listener is tickled from track to track. Which brings us to the concluding funk of I Could Be The Voice Inside Your Head with a heavily vocoded vocal somewhere between Daft Punk and Beck – yeah there are nods to both artists here. And he never lets up on the Playskool rhythms and arcade dreams, offering a glimpse back into themes so popular in 70’s television (ie: The Love Boat). This track, in particular, could most easily become a handful of copious remixes, which are in order.